Eclampsia and Emergency

pressure cooker

In the kitchen, there is one tool that I would never want to own or use, no matter how cool I think it is in theory. I’m not afraid of knives or food processors or whatnot, but I have never owned a pressure cooker, and I don’t even like going into other people’s kitchens when they use one. They creep me out and make me anxious – I’m always afraid that they’re going to burst or something, no matter how safe everyone always tells me that they are. Well, it seems that we can’t avoid those things we might like to; last week, my heart became a pressure cooker.

I am still only finding out about the story as time goes by, so I’m not 100% sure of what happened, but here’s the stuff I do know for now. It’s been quite an emotional time for me, and every time I talk about it, I well up with tears. The same will probably happen as I write these words, but if it can help just one person, it’s worthwhile.

As I think was clear in my last post, I wasn’t feeling well during my baby shower. I was swollen and sore and generally unwell. However, much like so many of these things, I sort of figured a lot of it was “normal”. I had some weird vision stuff on Monday, though, so much so that Dean said I wasn’t allowed to drive him home from work and he’d make another plan. I had an appointment with the midwife on Tuesday and was looking forward to seeing her to find out what was going on with me and if there wasn’t anything that could be done to make me more comfortable for the remainder of my pregnancy.

Monday night was a bit rough – I remember getting up a bunch of times in the night to pee, but also to pace around the house because I was so sore and uncomfortable. I just couldn’t sleep. Obviously, I fell asleep at some point though, because the next thing I remember is Dean talking to me so sweetly, telling me everything was going to be okay. He had woken up to me having a seizure next to him and we were just waiting for an ambulance to take me to the hospital. Well, that didn’t work too well – 45 minutes later he piled me in the car himself and drove me to the hospital. I don’t remember that at all, nor do I remember anything that happened in the hospital until the moment I felt a pain in my back from the doctor giving me an epidural. I remember it feeling like someone rummaging in a handbag, only that handbag was me, and I remember them showing me my tiny daughter and hearing her cry.

The next thing I remember is waking up in the ICU, where I stayed for several days. Apparently, my blood pressure had gone through the roof, leading to the seizures. It was beyond preeclampsia – I actually had (and still have) eclampsia. The only cure is the removal of the baby and placenta, which for me was done via emergency c section. So yeah, totally not planned; I was horribly ill plus my baby was removed from my body at only 32 weeks.

I was in the ICU for a few days, pumped full of a ton of meds to try to bring my blood pressure under control, as well as manage my pain from the surgery as well as from chewing my tongue to shreds during the seizures. Dean was absolutely incredible – was by my side through the whole thing, showed me pictures of our princess Harley and generally just kept me feeling so safe and loved throughout. He also coordinated for me to talk to my mom at a set time each day, and other friends. It’s one of those things where we always hope our loved ones will come through in an emergency, and proved it above and beyond, making me feel so very loved and taken care of – it makes me cry every time I think about it; I couldn’t have asked for a better husband in that situation, or ever.

Thanks to an excellent medical team, and particularly an awesome physio who helped me look and feel healthier, I was released from ICU and transferred to the maternity ward. There, Dean was able to visit me way more, plus I was finally able to walk down the hall and go see my tiny daughter in the Neonatal ICU. She was (and still is) so very tiny, but so perfect.

My blood pressure remained high, though. Despite the doctor boosting my meds repeatedly, my blood pressure continued to be unpredictable, although nowhere near as bad as it had been. It was way better for me to be in the maternity ward, but all I wanted was to go home. After a week in the hospital, I was released at the beginning of this week. However, I’m still under strict orders to take it easy, take my meds and recover.

I wish the midwife had set the appointment sooner. I wish I had known that my “normal” signs weren’t so normal after all. But I am so grateful for the excellent medical care that I received and continue to receive. I’m sure that I will make a full recovery. There is still so much to say – about coming home, about the NICU, about my princess Harley, about pumping breast milk. But for now, this is the story of eclampsia and emergency birth, of why I stopped writing every day, of my incredibly dramatic experience; this is what I went through, and from what I need to recover.

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